What’s the difference between a cocktail shaker and a mixing glass?

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In the world of cocktails, the choice of tools and equipment can significantly impact the final outcome of your drink. When it comes to mixing and combining the ingredients, two essential items often come into play: the cocktail shaker and the mixing glass. Let’s delve into the world of cocktail tools to discover what sets them apart and their role in crafting the perfect drink.

The Basics of Cocktail Shakers

  • A cocktail shaker is a staple in the bartender’s toolkit. It’s designed to efficiently blend various ingredients, resulting in a harmonious medley of flavors.
  • The primary components of a cocktail shaker include a metal tin and a strainer.
  • There are several types of cocktail shakers, but the most common one is the two-piece metal shaker, which consists of a metal tin with a pint glass or metal shaker tin.

Different Types of Cocktail Shakers

  • The Boston Shaker: This classic shaker comprises a metal tin and a pint glass. Bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts often favor this type for its simplicity and versatility.
    The Cobbler Shaker: With a built-in strainer, the cobbler shaker is a popular choice for those who prefer a more straightforward approach to mixing drinks.
  • Parisian Shakers: These two-piece shakers feature straight walls and are known for creating a frothy drink due to the increased amount of air bubbles incorporated during shaking.
  • Reverse Shaker: A relatively rare design where the smaller tin fits inside the larger one, opposite of the Boston shaker. It offers a unique look and can be a conversation starter.
  • Electric Shaker: An automated or electrically powered cocktail shaker that automatically mixes and chills cocktails at the push of a button. It’s ideal for high-volume settings or where consistency and speed are crucial.
  • Etc.

The type of cocktail shaker you choose may depend on personal preference and skill level. Each has its unique advantages and characteristics, but all are designed to expertly blend liquid ingredients and deliver a delightful cocktail experience.

What Are The Different Types Of Cocktail Strainers?

The Basics of Mixing Glasses

  • The mixing glass is an essential tool for creating a wide range of cocktails.
  • Unlike shakers, mixing glasses are specifically designed for stirring and layering ingredients without the need for a separate strainer.
  • Mixing glasses are traditionally made from glass, as this material doesn’t impart any additional flavors to cocktails.
  • Mixing glasses come in various shapes and sizes, from the classic pint glass to more specialized options like the Diamond Cut Mixing Glass.

Different Types of Mixing Glasses

Mixing glasses are essential tools used in the preparation of various cocktails and beverages. They come in different styles and materials, each designed to suit different preferences and purposes. Here are some different types of mixing glasses:

  • Classic Mixing Glass: A standard mixing glass used in most bars and cocktail setups. Typically made of thick, durable glass with a wide base and a narrow top, allowing for easy stirring and efficient mixing.
  • Japanese-Style Mixing Glass: Inspired by traditional Japanese mixing glasses, characterized by their elegant and sleek design. Often taller and narrower than the classic mixing glass, promoting a smoother stirring motion and precise control over the cocktail.
  • Crystal Mixing Glass: Made from high-quality crystal, known for its clarity and brilliance. Provides a luxurious look and feel, making it ideal for upscale cocktail bars and special occasions.
  • Weighted Bottom Mixing Glass: Features a weighted base to enhance stability during stirring and mixing. The added weight at the base ensures the mixing glass stays in place and minimizes the risk of tipping.
  • Stainless Steel Mixing Glass: Made of durable stainless steel, providing excellent insulation and resistance to temperature changes. Ideal for chilling ingredients quickly and keeping the drink cold during the mixing process.
  • Etc.

The type of mixing glass you choose can impact the appearance and flavors of your cocktails. The choice of material and design can help you achieve different effects and cater to various drink preferences.

What Are The Different Types Of Cocktail Glasses?

Cocktail Shakers Vs. Mixing Glasses: Which Is Best?

Whether a cocktail shaker or a mixing glass is best for you depends on your preferences, the cocktails you’re making, and your desired style of mixing. Each has its own advantages and best use cases:

Cocktail Shakers


  • Ideal for cocktails that require vigorous shaking, such as those with citrus juice or egg whites, to achieve proper mixing and frothiness.
  • Shakers quickly chill and dilute ingredients, making them perfect for drinks that need a colder temperature and more water content.
  • Well-suited for creating visually appealing shaken cocktails with aeration and a frothy texture.
  • Shaking can effectively blend various ingredients with different textures or consistencies.


  • Some shakers may require a bit of practice to achieve a proper seal and prevent leaks during shaking.
  • Cleaning a shaker can be slightly more involved compared to a mixing glass.

Mixing Glasses


  • Ideal for stirred cocktails, like martinis or old-fashioneds, where gentle mixing without aeration is preferred.
  • Provides a clearer view of the ingredients during the mixing process, allowing for precise measurement and control.
  • Easy to use and clean, with fewer parts compared to a shaker.
  • Well-suited for cocktails where you want to maintain the drink’s clarity and appearance.


  • May not chill or dilute ingredients as quickly or as effectively as a shaker, particularly if the recipe requires aggressive mixing or incorporates ingredients like citrus juice or egg whites.

Which Is Best?

There’s no definitive answer on whether a shaker or mixing glass is “best” because it largely depends on the specific cocktail you’re making and your personal preferences. If you enjoy cocktails that are shaken and frothy, and you often use ingredients that need vigorous mixing, a cocktail shaker is likely a better choice.

On the other hand, if you prefer classic stirred cocktails and prioritize clarity and precise control over dilution, a mixing glass is a great option. In reality, many mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts have both a shaker and a mixing glass in their toolkit, using each according to the needs of the cocktail being prepared. Ultimately, the best tool is the one that helps you achieve the desired taste, texture, and presentation for the specific cocktail you’re creating.

The Act of Stirring in Mixology

Stirring is a crucial step in crafting the perfect classic cocktail. It’s a technique that differs from shaking, as it gently combines ingredients without introducing excess air. While both methods are essential in mixology, stirring is especially crucial for certain types of cocktails, such as spirit-forward and citrus-based drinks.

The Role of Stirring in Making Cocktails

Stirring helps to:

  • Dilute: Control the level of dilution in your cocktail.
  • Chill: Achieve the desired temperature without excessive froth.
  • Mix: Gently blend ingredients while preserving their flavors.

How Shakers and Glasses Affect Stirring

  • Cocktail Shakers: Shakers are ideal for cocktails that require a vigorous mix, producing a refreshing, frothy texture. However, shaking can sometimes over-dilute and bruise certain cocktails.
  • Mixing Glasses: Mixing glasses are excellent for drinks that require a more delicate touch. They enable precise control over dilution and help maintain the pristine clarity of the cocktail.

The Role and Importance of Bar Equipment Design

Bar equipment design is more than just aesthetics; it influences the functionality of the tools and, in turn, the quality of the cocktails produced. Let’s explore how the design of cocktail shakers and mixing glasses can impact their use.

How the Design of a Cocktail Shaker Impacts its Use

  • Material Matters: Stainless steel shakers with thick walls are favored by professional bartenders, as they provide excellent insulation and durability.
  • Strainer Mechanisms: Shakers with integral strainer mechanisms or a separate strainer component allow for easy and efficient pouring.

The Influence of a Mixing Glass Design on the Preparation of Cocktails

  • Shape and Size: Different styles of mixing glasses cater to specific cocktail recipes, offering ample space for stirring and the ability to create unique visual effects.
  • Base Material: A heavy base, unpainted metal, or even a gold-plated metal base can influence the balance and sturdiness of the mixing glass.

How to run a profitable bar

The Importance of Effective Inventory Management

Mixology, the art of crafting exquisite cocktails, requires precision, creativity, and a deep understanding of ingredients. But what if you could take your mixology skills to the next level by incorporating the principles of effective inventory management?  Let’s explore the benefits of bar inventory management.

Unleashing the Power of Precise Metrics

The difference between a good cocktail and an exceptional one often lies in the details. By keeping meticulous records of ingredients, ratios, and recipes, you gain better control over your craft and the management of your business.

Tracking ingredient usage lets you know what’s running low and what’s underutilized, helping you manage your inventory more efficiently. Additionally, precise metrics help you understand the true cost of each cocktail, enabling you to price your creations effectively and boost profitability.

Connecting with Your Creative Process

Mixology is not just a science; it’s an art. By embracing the advantages of technology, you can automate tasks:

  • Centralize your ingredient management, reducing the chances of errors or oversights.
  • With real-time data, you can make informed decisions about which cocktails to promote or refine, harnessing the power of both sales and creativity.
  • You can streamline the process of calculating the cost of cocktail drinks, allowing you to focus on the art of mixology without being bogged down by administrative tasks.

Invest in the Rapid Bar App

Whether you’re a veteran bartender looking to expand your bar cart or a beginner home bartender seeking the basics of cocktail shaking, your choice of equipment will enhance your ability to craft the perfect cocktail. With RapidBar, you can say goodbye to mistakes during inventory management and hello to seamless bar operations.

RapidBar’s restaurant inventory software is designed to optimize the way you run your business. Here’s how it can upgrade your bar’s efficiency:

  • Cut Down on Manual Counting: RapidBar can save you up to 80% of the time typically spent on restaurant stock counts.
  • Combat Food Waste: By streamlining your menu item usage, this software helps reduce waste and improves your bottom line.
  • Go Paperless: Say goodbye to outdated inventory sheets and prevent transcription errors with a modern, digital approach.
  • Rich Reporting: Deep dive into variance reports and financial reporting to uncover golden opportunities for savings and growth.
  • Unburden Your Team: Redirect your team’s focus from tracking sales and supplies to delivering top-notch experiences for your customers.

Elevate your mixology skills and delight your customers with exceptional cocktails while managing your inventory with precision.

Get a free demo!